Gross mortgage lending up 16% but outlook remains weak

Gross mortgage lending climbed 16% from £9.9bn in February to an estimated £11.5bn in March.

Data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders has been interpreted positively by the mortgage industry but it still represents a 52% decline from the £24.2bn seen in March 2008.

The CML says the monthly 16% increase is broadly in line with its expectations for £145bn in gross lending this year.

Michael Coogan, director-general of the CML, says:”While the market is beginning to show signs of stabi-lising, housing transactions and lending will remain low for the foreseeable future.”

A report from the Bank of Eng-land detailing lending trends supports this view. Pulling data from major high street lenders, it found that banks and societies expect demand for mortgages to remain weak in the coming months.

The Bank attributes this to house price falls and unemployment fears.